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MET alterations detected in blood-derived circulating tumor DNA correlate with bone metastases and poor prognosis.

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We analyzed clinical associations of MET alterations in the plasma of patients with diverse malignancies.


Digital sequencing of circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) (54-70 genes) was performed in 438 patients; 263 patients also had tissue sequencing (182-315 genes). The most represented tumor types were gastrointestinal (28.1%), brain (24.9%), and lung (23.2%). Most patients (71.2%) had recurrent/metastatic disease.


MET alterations were observed in 31 patients (7.1%) and correlated with bone metastasis (P = 0.007), with TP53 (P = 0.001) and PTEN (P = 0.003) abnormalities, and with an increased number of alterations (median, 4 vs 1, P = 0.001) (all multivariable analyses). Patients with MET alterations demonstrated a significantly shorter median time to metastasis/recurrence (1.0 vs 10.4 months, P = 0.044, multivariable) and a poorer survival (30.6 vs 58.4 months, P = 0.013, univariate only). Of the 31 patients with MET alterations, 18 also had tissue testing; only two also had tissue MET alterations (11.1%); MET alterations were detected at a lower frequency in tissue (1.14%) compared to ctDNA (7.1%), with P = 0.0002.


In conclusion, the detection of MET alterations by liquid biopsy is feasible. MET ctDNA alterations were associated with a poorer prognosis, higher numbers of genomic abnormalities, and bone metastases. The correlation with bone metastases may explain the higher frequency of MET alterations in blood ctDNA than in tissue (since bones are rarely biopsied) and the previous observations of bone-predominant responses to MET inhibitors. The high number of co-altered genes suggests that MET inhibitors may need to be combined with other agents to induce/optimize responses.

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